Dodgers Report: Jorge De La Rosa

Edinson Volquez leaves a shaky impression

September, 4, 2013
9/04/13
9:16
PM PT


DENVER -- It's hard to know what the Los Angeles Dodgers learned about their newest pitcher Wednesday night.

On one hand, Edinson Volquez looked very similar to the pitcher who had a 6.01 ERA for the San Diego Padres before the Dodgers salvaged him from the scrap heap of August free agency. On the other hand, the Dodgers won't run into the Colorado Rockies in the playoffs.

Volquez made his first start as a Dodger and lasted just four innings in a 7-5 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field.

Even by the standards of this stadium, it was ugly. In the first two innings, Rockies batters collectively hit for the cycle. Todd Helton hit a majestic, soaring home run to right. Josh Rutledge tripled to center field, the ball short-hopping a wall that's 415 feet from home plate. Troy Tulowitzki pounded a double off the top of the left-field wall.

It's not often a pitcher performs as poorly against one opponent as Volquez has against Colorado this season. He actually lowered his season ERA versus Colorado, from 13.08 to 12.43, though his record fell to 0-5 in six starts.

The Dodgers didn't get much out of Wednesday's game, but they did see one of their best players, Yasiel Puig, get back on the field after sitting out a couple of games because of a sore knee. Puig pinch hit in the eighth inning and struck out against Manny Corpas.

Most of the Dodgers' main players watched most of it from afar.

In spring training, teams are supposed to field lineups with at least four regulars. The Dodgers might have run afoul of MLB with the squad they trotted out Wednesday evening. Hanley Ramirez, A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe were the only regulars starting, with the rest of the usual starters getting a night off.

Manager Don Mattingly fielded a similar lineup and the Dodgers won on Tuesday, but this one didn't generate much action. Jorge De La Rosa had the Dodgers off balance and, when they got things going, something unraveled it. Scott Van Slyke hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Another new guy, Carlos Marmol, also didn't help his chances of sticking with the Dodgers when they align their playoff bullpen. Marmol gave up three hits and three runs in the seventh inning. It was a spring training-like inning. A ball from the outfield caromed off the mound for an error. Marmol committed a balk to let in a run. In his previous 10 appearances, Marmol had been unscored upon.

On the bright side, Michael Young has looked like a nice pickup, albeit in just two games. Young had three hits, including two RBIs, and is 4-for-9 since coming to the Dodgers in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Luis Cruz strong down the stretch for the Dodgers

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
9:37
AM PT
With another three-hit game Thursday night, Luis Cruz continues to be a key part of a Dodgers offense that might be starting to heat up as the season winds down. Even as the offense has shown some life the last few days, Cruz, hitting .333 in September, is the only Dodgers regular hitting over .300 for the month.

One thing to watch with Cruz is whether he is able to get ahead in the count. In at-bats in which he falls behind 0-1, Cruz is hitting .246, not exceptional but better than the league average of .226. However, after getting ahead 1-0, Cruz turns into the best hitter in the league average-wise.

In at-bats in which he takes a first-pitch ball, Cruz is hitting .407, the highest such average in the league among all players with at least 200 plate appearances. Cruz got ahead 1-0 in two at-bats Thursday night and got hits both times.

Cruz hit just .258 in July, his first month with the team, but has hit .333 since. A key difference can be seen in his batted-ball rates. In July half of the balls he put in play were grounders, and he hit line drives about 15 percent of the time. Since the start of August, Cruz has been able to trade some grounders for liners; his groundball rate over that time is 33 percent, and his line drive rate is close to 27 percent, among the best in the league over that time.

Cruz has proven to be an effective low-ball hitter, hitting .326 in at-bats ending with a pitch in the lower third of the zone or below. That’s the sixth-highest average in the league among players who have at least as many at-bats as Cruz has.

Unlike many players without much major league experience, Cruz has also shown he can be effective against breaking pitches. He’s hitting .323 when the at-bat ends with a breaking ball; only four players in the league have more overall plate appearances and a higher average against breaking balls.

Not only providing value just with his bat, Cruz has also been solid with the glove at third base. According to Baseball Info Solutions’ Defensive Runs Saved statistic, Cruz has saved seven runs for the Dodgers while playing third, and he’s done it in fewer than 400 innings. Only five third basemen have been credited with more Defensive Runs Saved than Cruz this season, and all have played at least 1,000 innings at the hot corner.

In this weekend’s series against the Rockies, the Dodgers will see two left-handed pitchers, Jeff Francis and Jorge De La Rosa. Cruz hasn’t seen many lefties at home this season, garnering only 35 at-bats against southpaws at Dodger Stadium. However, he has 12 hits in those 35 at-bats, good for a .343 average. He’s struck out only twice.

Overall, Cruz is hitting .316 and slugging .456 against lefties this season, a key part of a team that is 34-25 when the opponent starts a lefty and 47-50 against righties. With the Dodgers scheduled to face three lefties in their final six games, Cruz figures to continue to be an important contributor to the Dodgers’ final playoff push.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.315 12 54 55
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 15
RBIA. Gonzalez 67
RD. Gordon 56
OPSY. Puig .945
WZ. Greinke 12
ERAJ. Beckett 2.52
SOZ. Greinke 140